Do you still remember the volcanic ash cloud? Yes, millions of stranded passengers were affected across the world by the flying ban caused by the volcanic ash crisis. I remember it very well because we had to help some of our customers who got stuck! Where were you when that happen? Were you stuck? Did you have a plan for your cat?
If the volcanic ash cloud didn’t affect you, how about 9/11? Sure everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing what that happened.
I know what you are thinking… ‘these things don’t happen all the time, do they?’
No, they don’t.
But then how about the regular flood problem in Ireland that stops intercity traffic? Or even emergency situations like someone in your family got into an accident and you are staying with them in the hospital for a few days? Or you have to attend a funeral down in the country in short notice? The examples I have just listed here are real life examples that have all actually happened to my customers!
I remember the flood in Dublin on 2011? People only had 45 minutes to evacuate from their homes. Yes, two of the families are my customers. Thankfully they weren’t travelling but they told me their evacuation story afterwards. (I will tell you their amazing cat evacuation story another time…)
So my question is:
Do you have an emergency plan in place? What would I do if I needed to evacuate my home?
1. Safe house – Do you have a safe place for your cat to go? You need to have a ‘safe house’ in place because normally disaster shelters won’t allow pets. During the 2011 disaster, one of my customers went to another customer of mine. Do you have a friend who also have cats or a friend who don’t mind your cat staying in case of disaster? The other customer of mine went to the Hilton Hotel Kilmainham. They initially didn’t want to let them stay. But they explained to them there was a natural disaster so they finally accepted them but asked them to pay for a big deposit in case of ‘cat damage’. (I know…let’s move on, don’t have time to rant on this point.) A few possible safe houses are:
- Family and friends
- Hotels that allow household pet(s)
- Boarding cattery
- Veterinary offices with boarding facilities
There is a huge lack of pet friendly accommodation in Ireland but situation has definitely been improved in the past few years. A quick search on booking.com gives you 38 properties in Dublin who accept pets. You might want to take note!
2. Disaster kit – Do you have disaster supplies kit? A cat probably doesn’t need as much supplies as a dog, but do you know where is your carrier? Can you access to it quickly? Lots of my customers keep their carrier so well hidden away! They are usually behind the hoover under the stair or even up in the attic! You won’t be able to get to it quickly if you have only 45 minutes to evacuate and the water is coming up to your knees. According to Federal Emergency Management Agency under the Department of Homeland Security in USA, your emergency kit should have…
- Store your disaster kit in an area where it can easily be retrieved.
- Check the contents of the disaster kit twice a year when the clocks change for daylight savings.
- Rotate all foods into use and replace with fresh food every 2 months.
- Paper towels, plastic bags, and spray disinfectant for animal waste cleanup.
- Extra collars and tags, harnesses, and leashes for all pets (including cats).
- Copies of your pet’s medical and vaccination records. Boarding facilities may not accept your pets without proof of health.
- A 2-week supply of medication, along with a copy of the current prescription.
- A recent photo of you with your pet.
- A crate or traveling carrier large enough for your pet to stand up and turn around. Label the crate with your pet’s name, your name, and where you can be reached.
- First aid kit.
- Manual can opener
- Cat litter or newspaper
- Muzzle or materials such as gauze for an improvised muzzle
- Pet comfort items such as blankets and toys
- A list of hotels and boarding kennels that accept pets
- Detailed instructions for someone else in case you cannot care for your pet.
3. Back up person – What if you are not home when disaster happen? What if you are the other side of the city? You need to have a backup caretaker who have access to your house key. It could be your pet sitter or a neighbour. Make sure the selected person is aware of your disaster plan and can easily locate your cats (tell them the cat’s hiding spots!), carriers and disaster supplies kit.
4. Identification – Are your cats microchipped? You should always microchip your cat anyway but in a disaster situation, it’s more important than ever in case they run away. But don’t forget just microchipping is not enough, make sure your chip is registered! In Ireland, the following database are approved by the law.
If you are not sure if your cat has already been registered or you are not sure which database he/she has been registered, a quick way to find out is to check on the European database on Europe Pet Net.
5. Transportation – Ideally, you should look into training your cat to come when called. Don’t laugh! It’s possible. It’s a very long process but it’s possible. In fact, the Cat Behaviourist Sarah Ellis considers training as part of the cat’s daily care of a responsible cat parent. She has successfully trained her cats to come back in from the garden and go into the carrier. Full details on this training is in this book…
All the above preparation is for when YOU are conscious and be able to act on your cat. How about YOU are the one in an accident and are unconscious? Do you have a plan for that? You will need to appoint an emergency carer who could step in to help.
For this, I have designed a “Please Help, My Pet Is Home Alone” card so that paramedic would know who to contact.
And they are FREE! Get yours now here! You just need to pay for your postage.
Do you have an emergency plan? I would love to hear if you have other suggestion to add to the list.